Under A Full Moon And The Golem Tree Part 7
Once we were back to the house I took the chicken I had bought, grabbed the bottle of the sweet spicy Sukiyaki sauce, and threw it all together in a plastic bag to marinate for a while in the reefer. I was interested to see, and taste, how this experiment in fine BBQ cuisine would work and come out on the new charcoal grills. I put some of the pork strips in another bag and sauced them up too. Then I grabbed a beer and headed for the shower to wash away the grime of the day.
Sis and wife were yakking up to everyone, kids, adults, neighbors, and anyone else who would listen, about my adventures with the baby monkey. Film at 11. At Sis 2's shop next door there is a small tv set, a focal point on most night's for the gossiping harridans as they sit about and suck down a few drinks and chatter away. The finest films shown on the old vcr attached, the ones truly loved by one and all in the village, and guaranteed to attract virtually anyone walking, or even driving, by to stop and watch, are the Morlam song, dance, and comedy shows.
The Thais can watch these tapes over and over, and still roar with laughter at the jokes, and skits, and pratfalls, as though it is the first time they've ever seen this. It's a truly amazing thing to see. The laughter becomes contagious. It's as though you are in a classroom full of children, all giggling over something foolish, yet none able to stop laughing, and once it stops one late giggle from someone will start it all over again.
It's simple humor, gags and bits and slapstick from a bygone era in the west, still loved in rural Isaan. It's the Thai Isaan Laurel and Hardy, meets Abbot and Costello, meets The Three Stooges, with bawdy songs done ala the Marx Brothers. Serious music and songs and singing mixed with much humor and comedy. To sit among them and hear their merriment and glee while watching these shows is an experience, a relaxing happy one, guaranteed to lift your spirits. It's a trip back to your childhood, when laughter was fun and easily brought forth, just for the sake of laughing, and nearly anything was thought riotously funny. You can't help but smile and laugh along with them, even if you have no idea of what the hell was said sometimes. The comedy is very visual, and a lot of it transcends language.
I managed to see a live Morlam show this past trip. A big outdoor concert at night in a huge field outside the village, under the lights on a giant stage, filled with tons of lovely dancing girls. I'll write about it another time. It was a night that I'll remember until the Alzheimers kicks in.
I finished my shower and jumped into some clean comfortable clothing, grabbing another beer I headed out through the back screen door to back where Sis and wife were washing foodstuffs, and preparing rice and noodles for cooking. Mama was there, along with her sis, old auntie, with the wrinkled monkey face, one of my favorite women in the village, and family. She's a character, and always good for a laugh. A happy soul she.
They both come over and we exchange pleasantries, while they cop a few feels of farang meat. These old women are always touching me, stroking my arms, playing with my arm hairs, which seems to amaze them no end. I was their first farang, and they always inquire as to my wife and her Sis's care of this fine exotic man creature.
These old girls are "old school", and will always chastise the younger women if they think I'm not being properly cared for and fed and watered. They know how a man, a husband, is supposed to be taken care of, and they make sure the young gals know it. Man, you should see them lay into my wife if they think she's not doing her proper wifely duties as she was taught since a wee lass. She'll grumble a bit and toss out the occasional retort, but she jumps when they get on her.
As far as I'm concerned they've done a fine job with her, my wife, even though she can be a feisty wench sometimes. (Which I like, most times.) Momma and old Auntie are my staunchest allies. (Even though Mama at first wanted to carve me up with a butcher knife due to some imagined loss of face the first time I went to meet her.) Now she loves me too much. I love her and Auntie too! They're my ladies!
I grabbed the new charcoal grill we bought for Mama and presented it to her. She was all smiles, wai's, and kup khun ka's. I was stroked some more by both the old lasses and cackled over. I wish I could understand what the hell they are saying sometimes, but even if my Thai was better, well, they're speaking Lao anyway, and that around a mouthful of betel nut chew besides.
They wander off over to Sis 2's shop after a while, clutching a couple of glasses, and an ice cold beer Chang they accepted gratefully when offered by me. Don't listen to the Puritans….bribery will get you everything you desire!
I went over to Sis and my wife to watch their culinary preparations. I learn something new from them every time I take the time to watch and ask pertinent questions. One of these days I'll be a fine chef of Isaan cuisine myself. I'll open a nice restaurant on Newbury street in Boston one day. "Cent's Isaan Restaurant and Fine Noodle Shop"…..good eats cheap. Haha!
(to be continued)
(The Central Scrutinizer)
"Laugh while you can. Everything has its time."
More Magic From Cent.